John "Dobie" Dobrinick had two passions in life -- spending time with his grandchildren and watching high school football. Between piano recitals and weekend games, he ran his funeral home and volunteered at the Trafford Lions Club.
Mr. Dobrinick died of respiratory failure Wednesday at his home in Trafford. He had been diagnosed with throat cancer in December, and although the cancer was removed, he had complications from the radiation, according to his family. He was 73.
His love of football got its start at Jeannette High School, where he was the starting halfback on the 1956 WPIAL Class AA championship team. He played alongside Dick Hoak, the former Steelers running back. Throughout his life, he attended five or six high school games every weekend until he became ill.
Mr. Dobrinick graduated high school in 1957 and attended college for a couple of years before graduating from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 1961.
His son, Thomas Dobrinick, said his father used to talk about his old elementary school, which was in East Pittsburgh near a funeral home. The family moved to Jeannette when he was 12.
"He would look outside the class window at the funeral home, and at 10 or 11 years old, he thought, 'That's what I want to do when I get older.' "
Mr. Dobrinick achieved his ambition. He worked as a funeral director in the Greensburg area before purchasing the William Daugherty Funeral Home in Trafford in 1974. It was renamed as the John M. Dobrinick Funeral Home, where he worked as funeral director until his death.
He served on the Jeannette school board for a short time and volunteered as the emergency management director in Trafford for more than 20 years.
He also served in various positions of the Trafford Lions Club for more than 38 years.
Jim Martin, of Trafford, met Mr. Dobrinick in 1974, when they both joined the Lions Club. He said Mr. Dobrinick made a great secretary, which he described as the toughest job within the club.
"He made a tremendous impact because being a funeral director, he was around home most of the day, so he would do whatever needed to be done," Mr. Martin said. "He was a very jovial person -- fun to be around."
In addition to his son, Mr. Dobrinick is survived by his wife of 48 years, Bonnie; a daughter, Lynn Cass, of Plum; and four grandchildren.
Visitation at his funeral home, 702 Seventh St., Trafford, continues from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. today.
Parting prayers will be held at 9:15 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, followed by the funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at St. Regis Catholic Church, 517 Homewood Ave., Trafford.
Memorial donations can be made to the family for a special needs trust fund to benefit his grandson, who is autistic.
Emily Petsko: email@example.com or 412-263-1468.